7.1/10
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47 user 29 critic

Brubaker (1980)

R | | Crime, Drama | 20 June 1980 (USA)
The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »

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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Walter
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Storyline

When the new warden comes in disguised as an inmate, he sees firsthand all the corruption and scams the guards and prison officials are running. When he reveals himself and starts to implement reforms to stop the corruption, the local business community, who had been benefiting from the scams, fights back, and the corrupt prison system starts making political trouble for the new warden. Written by Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One man against a cruel system. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shadow Walk  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,748,079 (USA) (22 June 1980)

Gross:

$37,121,708 (USA)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Rafelson started as director, but was replaced by Stuart Rosenberg. See more »

Goofs

When Brubaker & another prisoner are taken to a local restaurant to drop off a steer; the guard drinks a beer which changes position in his hand after the camera goes back to the store owner for less than a second or two. See more »

Quotes

Roy Purcell: [yelling at the house] I don't know who's in there or what's going on, but the warden of Wakefield prison is out here, and we're probably coming in!
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Connections

Referenced in Murphy's Law: Electric Bill (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Respect
(uncredited)
Written by Otis Redding
Performed by Morgan Freeman when he attacks another inmate
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User Reviews

 
In prison, even the stink 'stinks'
27 February 2005 | by (Suffolk, England) – See all my reviews

Brubaker (Robert Redford) as a messiah-type, seemingly on the fringe of municipal importance, takes up the job of Warden at a Southern state penal farm and decides to see the extent of what he is up against by entering in disguise as just another inmate, with no privileges. He feels that to absorb the experience from the inside looking out is preferable to relying on preconceptions. He is right as the thrust of the film would have otherwise been lost and the overall plot (simple though it is) is stronger for the fact that Brubaker has 'been there'.

He manages to carve a bond with a few prisoners before he modestly reveals his true identity and, through a series of well acted confrontations, he begins to make the prison machine tick over nicely. In the final analysis his efforts are not totally successful, but the film does reflect change and at least the viewer can agree that he seized the chance to make a difference.

The film is possibly a bit too long and the principal character is under-developed. 'Brubaker' was apparently a rather mournful, strained film to work on and the original director, Bob Rafelson, was sacked for smacking Ron Silverman (producer) in the nose during an early on-set argument.

However, I think it is well acted and very absorbing to watch. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Brubaker gets his staff to release a few long term solitary confinements, stating that before they do so, the requisite pairs of sunglasses should be given to them as they come out of complete darkness for the first time in ages - the staff think Brubaker is crazy: of course, they cannot see that this is all about building trust. The master plan is therefore to get the inmates on board and allow the trustees to follow. Nice theory, not so nice to put into practice as he is up against a rancid, but self policing establishment from day one.

Watch out for Wilford Brimley as "Rogers" - a later teaming up with Redford took place in the outstanding "The Natural", with Brimley starring in a major role as the jaundiced, downtrodden, Pop Fisher.


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